In July of 2014 one of the largest payday loan companies in the United States was ordered to refund $5 million to consumers and pay another $5 million in fines for what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal agency in charge of overseeing companies in the financial industry, called a predatory behavior that forced consumers into a cycle of debt.
Ace Cash Express is a payday advance and installment loan company who also provides bill pay and other financial services. It is headquartered in Irving, Texas and has retail locations in 36 states and the District of Columbia. The company also uses the names America’s Cash Express, Ace America’s Cash Express, and Ace Cash Express, Inc.
The CFPB found that Ace Cash Express attempted to create a false sense of urgency in loan repayment by repeatedly calling defaulted borrowers, discussing their debt with third parties, such as family members and employers, threatening to sue them when it did not intend to, and even threatening criminal prosecution and jail if they did not pay. It said that the company did this in order to convince defaulting borrowers to temporarily pay off their loan and then quickly take out a new loan. Each new loan caused the borrower to incur new fees. The CFPB said that creating this false sense of urgency was abusive and violated the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which allows the CFPB to take action against institutions that use unfair, abuse, and deceptive business practices.
The $5 million Ace Cash Express was ordered to pay to consumers was paid in the form of refunds to borrowers who were harmed by the company’s illegal actions during the relevant time period. The CFPB’s order also required the payday loan company to ensure that borrowers were no longer pressured into continuously taking out new loans in order to pay off the old one and that it ended its other unfair and deceptive collection practices.
A review of the nearly 700 complaints filed against Ace Cash Express with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and CFPB since it was ordered to pay the $10 million seems to indicate that the company may not be following the 2014 order. Many consumers allege in their complaint that the payday loan company added unauthorized fees, contacted a third party about their debt, told them that they would be arrested if they did pay the loan, or threatened to report false information to the credit reporting bureaus. All of which are practices that it was specifically ordered to stop using.
If Ace Cash Express has harassed, abused or misled you in an attempt to collect on a debt, contact our office at 1-800-219-3577, for a free, no obligation consultation.